6
This content is rated TV-MA, and is for viewers 18 years or older. Are you of age?
Sorry, you are not old enough to view this content.

XCAR: Audi RS Q3: The nearly car

About Video Transcript

XCAR: Audi RS Q3: The nearly car

5:36 /

Audi's Q3 is a decent car, so the RS version should be pretty awesome. Should is the operative word here...

When I first saw the Audi RS Q3 at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, I praised its grilles, its vents, and its angriness. But I also asked why? What's the point in it? Why? See? The Audi Q3 launched in 2011 and is Audi's smallest ever SUV. It's essentially an A3 with some taller springs and a bit more presence. It's a car for people who want more space. It's something that's not hard to park. The RS Q3 is small, spacious, and rather good looking, but that RS badge means it's got something special about it. It means it's the ultimate version of the Q3, the best it can possibly be. It's treading the middle ground between subtle and look-at-me here, but its flashy grille, RS badging, and single oval tailpipe are all RS hallmarks but sort of. Don't RS cars usually have two oval tailpipes? Yes. Yes, they do. That single tailpipe kind of sets a theme for the whole car. Under here, you got a 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine. That should be pretty good as one of those in the TT RS. Now, in the TT, it pushes out 355 brake horsepower. But in here, it's been pared down to 306. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. It's just not as much as it could be. The RS Q3's performance figures are pretty good. Knot to 62 takes 5.2 seconds and it will manage a limited 155 miles an hour. That's a performance to rival a Porsche Boxster which is a very, very good thing indeed. Still, I do wonder how much quicker it would be if it had that extra 50 horsepower. Anyway, the people who are buying the small premium SUVs are looking for something that's a cut above, something that makes them feel special. They've gotta be easy to drive and easy to enjoy. They've gotta be idiot-proof. The gearbox is Audi's S-tronic DSG twin clutch dewed at, and it is silky, silky smooth. There is one minor problem with it, though. It's that I do find a few times, if you're a little bit overzealous with the throttle when you're setting off, first gear can be really grabby and it kind of lurches you a little bit, but once you're going, it is very, very lovely. And if you put it into Sport mode, it hangs onto the gears for as long as it possibly can. I mean, it's great. You get that awesome 2.5-litre five-pot noise that accompanies it. It's just great. And then, every time the gearbox changes up, you get this [unk], I guess-- every time. It's kind of addictive. No matter how it is to drive, I do have a problem with it and it's a personal one. That's not strictly true. It's more with Audi, but put it like this, if you have a child that has a natural aptitude for football, would you only give it a basketball to play with? This engine is capable of so much more, but at the same time, it's actually quite old tech. The engine in the S3, the 2-litre turbo, has just about the same power and it's more efficient. In this, you can get 32 miles per gallon on the combined cycle, that's in the UK at least; whereas the S3, it manages 40. But the S3's engine may not be the most appropriate choice for this car. No, that would probably be the SQ5 diesel engine. It's got a 3-litre BiTDI engine that comes with more power and better economy, 41.5 mpg, but RS and diesel don't go together. And it probably wouldn't fit either. I like fast Audis. They float my boat. Get in, turn it on, hit the horizon, easy. But, in my mind, the RS Q3 isn't really an RS car or at least it shouldn't be one. And the RS cars are supposed to be the best evolution they can possibly be, whereas this, this has been throttled. Is it for economy reasons? Is it 'cause it would be faster than the S3? I don't know, but what I do know is that I still love the fact it exists. It's silly. It's small. It's got a ridiculous engine. It makes nice noises and it goes really, really quickly, but it also feels like a dilution of the RS name. And I also noted, for the first time, an RS car hasn't left me dribbling.

New releases

We found this old episode of the show in an archive (Tomorrow Daily 154)
21:01 April 1, 2015
Deep in our basement here at CNET, we discovered a dusty VHS copy of one of the earliest episodes of the show...cellular phones, Sony's...
Play video
2016 Scion iM: even automakers get hand-me-downs
1:15 April 1, 2015
The teenaged Scion brand inherits a small wagon from its parent company Toyota's global lineup.
Play video
2016 Scion iA: Built by Mazda, branded by Scion
1:23 April 1, 2015
Scion's first ever sedan has a sporty secret. It's actually a Mazda2.
Play video
Jaguar's 2016 XF gets a much needed update
1:29 April 1, 2015
Just when the current XF was starting to feel outdated, the Jag gets a high-tech redesign
Play video
What's free on Xbox and PlayStation: April 2015
2:27 April 1, 2015
Check out the free games of April 2015 available on PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live's Games with Gold services.
Play video
Whirlpool's Gold Series gas oven looks great but cooks slowly
2:04 April 1, 2015
Priced at a premium $1,749 the Whirlpool WEG730H0DS Gold Series gas range has expensive looks, is crafted from sturdy stainless steel,...
Play video
Lincoln Continental Concept shows the future of American Luxury in New York
1:47 April 1, 2015
Lincoln's new Continental Concept is looking lovely on the show floor of the New York International Auto Show. Let's take a closer...
Play video
Chevrolet's 2016 Malibu shows off its new curves in New York
1:33 April 1, 2015
Chevrolet is unveiling an all-new Malibu at the New York International Auto Show. Take a tour inside and out from the show floor.
Play video